How To Maximize Your Booster Club Fundraising

by Michael Garcia on July 25, 2014

It is back to school season and that means booster clubs are gearing up for another year of boosting the art or athletic program they support to new heights…or are they? Unfortunately, most booster clubs suffer from leadership turnover which puts pressure on the new booster club regime to essentially start from scratch each year or every other. What tends to happen is the new booster leadership ends up doing the same fundraisers that they have done the past couple of years and maybe have a brainstorming session to add an event or two or another profit-sharing product like candles, cookie dough, etc.

What happens next is because parents and supporters get hit up so many times with useless items and events, they end up becoming burned out with giving and the money the booster club generates is either break even from the previous year, or, due to events that have run their course, make less than the year prior. At best the booster club breaks even and the senior booster club parents are relieved because, “…It’s not their problem anymore,” and the cycle continues for next year’s booster club parents. These “booster” clubs should really be titled “survival” or “stay afloat” clubs because their goal is to just get by with what they have always done.

Then how do you actually have a booster club that actually “boosts” the program? Here are 3 suggestions that will solve your problems:

  1. Get rid of profit-sharing fundraisers and most events.

It’s a radical thought for most booster clubs who have been entrenched in this way of thought, but consider the following. How do colleges and major non-profits raise money? Discount cards and car washes? Absolutely not! They ask for outright donations and gifts. No profit sharing with a 3rd party that’s making money off of your hard work. No events that eat up time, expenses and volunteers. (Unless the event is a friend-raiser first and a fundraiser second, you should getting rid of it.) Donors and supporters will also maximize their gift if they know that 90-100% of their gift will be going to the program they support and they will be asked once a season to support the program.

  1. Cultivate alumni, parents of alumni, youth participants, and youth parents which leads to giving.

It is a wonder how so many schools, predominantly public but also private, have no relationship with their alumni, and especially alumni parents. Imagine a booster club that continues to reach out, connect with and ask for gifts from their alumni throughout the year. Again, look no further than to the nearest college and see how they operate. Not only does regular communication and connection to the program keep the goodwill feelings alive, but cultivating these relationships will lead to perpetual ongoing support. And the best thing about alumni cultivation and solicitation is that the list grows every year with each graduating class. Can you say sustainable?

Reaching out and giving back to the youth will also provide great loyalty to your program which will, in turn, lead to more participants and a better program. Fans, funds and freshmen is what you need for a thriving program and your booster club can and should make that happen.

  1. Find and implement a booster club process that is proven to produce results.

This is the most important step for the benefit of your booster club and its future. Fortunately, there is a booster club process that can show you how to maximize fundraising, build your program’s future and connect with its past. Better still, this process can be passed down from booster club to booster club so that there is no need to “reinvent the wheel” after booster club leadership turns over. Simplify and professionalize your booster club, give yourself more time with less work and see how your programs’ bank account and on-field/stage success dramatically transforms. Help your art and athletic programs reach their potential.

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